Unlike Quebec, Forsyth County wants a guarantee that the National Hockey League (NHL) intends to return to the Atlanta area before approving construction of an arena.
The Forsyth Country News learned this on Thursday.
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Area elected officials confirmed to local media that they are taking steps to ensure that approval of the Gathering at South Forsyth is contingent on the presence of an NHL tenant at the arena.
The planned complex is valued at around $2 billion and includes an 18,000-seat arena as well as hotels, restaurants, apartments and shops.
The Bettman circuit left Atlanta in 2011 when the Thrashers became the Winnipeg Jets. It was not the first NHL team to play in the Georgia community. The Flames played in Atlanta from 1972 to 1980 before moving to Calgary.
Last December, Gary Bettman suggested that further expansion was not in the track's plans.
“We have a lot of requests from places like Atlanta, Quebec, Houston and Salt Lake City,” the commissioner said in an interview with the ESPN network. We do not focus on this topic. We believe all 32 formations are in excellent locations. We like where we are. I can never say never to anything. That will be the decision [du bureau des gouverneurs] ultimately. However, we are neither in the middle of an expansion process nor are we interested in initiating one.”
Bettman also quickly dismissed the idea of a transfer from the Arizona Coyotes, as he has long done. “No one is going to move,” he said.
The Vegas Golden Knights (2017-2018) and the Seattle Kraken (2021-2022) are the fruits of the NHL's two most recent expansions. Quebec has not had a franchise since the departure of the Nordiques, who became the Colorado Avalanche in May 1995, despite the construction of the Videotron Center in 2012.